Telstra questioned over GPL compliance

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Telstra questioned over GPL compliance

T-Hub device may violate open source license.

Telstra is in discussions with partner, Sagem, over claims that its T-Hub tablet violates terms of the open source general public licence (GPL).

The potential violation was highlighted by Canberra-based software developer Angus Gratton, who found GPL-licensed software like Linux and Busybox in T-Hub firmware.

Gratton described his findings in an extensive blog post that was reported by technology title Delimiter this morning.

He accused Telstra of violating the GPL by using the Linux kernel, Busybox and GNU Fdisk, and not licensing derivative code under the GPL.

The T-Hub also contravened the lesser GPL in its use of the GNU C Library, and other open source licenses by not acknowledging the inclusion of libcurl, OpenSSL, Dropbear and ImageMagick, he claimed.

"Telstra are violating the licenses and also robbing the authors of their rightful attribution," Gratton wrote.

"They appear to be regarding open source as a free-for-all that they can exploit without giving back even the small amount required legally by the various license terms."

A Telstra spokesman this afternoon said the telco was "talking with our T-Hub vendor to work out whether software used in the product is subject to a general public license".

The spokesman did not disclose what open source code was included in T-Hub code.

"We take intellectual property rights very seriously and we think it's important to ensure any product that we sell respects other parties' intellectual property rights," he told iTnews.

"Should we find a lack of compliance we promise to work with our supplier to correct it."

Free software project GPL-Violations encouraged vendors to consider GPL obligations as they would any proprietary software license. Vendors have faced court over GPL violations in Europe and the US.

Gratton raised concerns that Telstra's other devices, the T-Box and Android-based T-Touch Tab could also violate open source licenses.

But Telstra did not expect to face similar GPL issues with its home content device, the T-Box, whose open source licensing information was available on the device's settings menu.

The vendor believed all GPL code for the T-Box to be identified and available from the website of T-Box manufacturer, Netgem.

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